RF Academy–Measurement Fundamentals

As wireless components are incorporated into more consumer products, it is essential engineers have a fundamental level of RF understanding. Watch videos on how to make popular measurements using the vector signal analyzer (VSA), vector signal generator (VSG), and vector network analyzer (VNA); explore whiteboard tutorials; and read in-depth application notes.

Download the in-depth application notes

  • Measuring Pulsed RF Signals in the Time Domain using Zero Span Mode
    Learn how to use markers to measure pulse characteristics such as pulse width and rise time.
  • Introduction to Signal Analyzer Architectures
    Get an introduction to the architecture of both the single-stage and super-heterodyne RF signal analyzer.
  • Relating IMD and TOI Measurements
    Understand the role of the signal analyzer's programmable attenuator in making more accurate measurements.
  • How to Measure the Noise Floor on a Signal Analyzer
    Learn how to measure the inherent noise contribution of your signal analyzer.
  • Using Preselection Filters for Better Harmonics Measurements
    Learn how to use a preselection filter when making a third harmonic measurement.
  • Optimizing Third Harmonic Distortion Measurements
    Explore intermodulation distortion (IM3), and measurements such as third order intercept (TOI).
  • Whiteboard: Intro to VSA Specifications
    Gain an understanding of phase noise, absolute power accuracy, TOI, noise floor, and dynamic range.
  • Whiteboard: Architecture of Spectrum Monitoring Receivers
    Discover how features such as pre-amplifiers improve instrument performance when acquiring off-the-air signals.
  • Whiteboard: Advanced VSA Settings
    Learn the theory of operation for how amplification and filtering at the IF stage can improve measurement performance.
  • Analyze Wideband Signals
    Improve pulsed measurement accuracy by acquiring more than 500 MHz of bandwidth in a single acquisition.
  • Using Composite Measurements to Improve Test Time
    Learn how composite measurements enable you to lower test time by pipelining measurement algorithms on a PXI system.
  • Getting to the TOI Specification of Your Signal Analyzer
    Learn how to identify the TOI performance of your signal analyzer by setting the appropriate RF attenuation level.
  • Demodulating 4096-QAM
    Explore how to use a vector signal analyzer to demodulate complex and wideband modulated signals. This video also offers tips for improving the measurement speed of these otherwise time-intensive measurements.

Application Notes

Introduction to Vector Network Analyzers

Learn key VNA concepts such as basic architectures, sources of error, and calibration. Also explore best practices for network analysis measurement.

Spectrum Analysis Fundamentals

Review the basics of spectrum analysis including the various signal analyzer architectures from single stage to superheterodyne. Also discover how to adjust VSA settings for optimal measurement performance.

Optimizing IP3 and ACPR Measurements

Learn techniques to improve your instrument’s ability to measure intermodulation distortion, third-order intercept, and adjacent channel power ratio.

Noise Figure Measurements: Theory and Applications

Learn about the fundamentals of noise and noise figure measurements, including the Y-factor technique and methods to calculate measurement uncertainty.

Introduction to Vector Signal Transceivers

Examine a software-defined approach to combining a VSG, VSA, and a programmable FPGA to accomplish some of the fastest measurements in the industry.

More RF Academy

Learn at Your Own Frequency

Whether you’re a seasoned engineer looking to solve new RF challenges or a new engineer hoping to understand the fundamentals, RF Academy can help. Check out all the whiteboard-style tutorials, “how-to” videos, and in-depth application notes.

Explore RF Academy